15 Best Things to Do in Cuba, MO

Cuba, MO
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Cuba, Missouri, offers plenty of enjoyable things to do, though it might not be an island haven like its namesake Caribbean country.

With an area of 3.19 square miles, Cuba is the largest city located entirely in Missouri’s Crawford County.

Many visitors’ attractions in the city connect with one another.

Established in 1857, Cuba saw the extension of railroad service to its locality, bringing the promise of development.

The points of interest in this city include the Uptown Cuba Historic District and other local listings in the National Register of Historic Places.

Cuba also enjoys close ties with the celebrated U.S. Route 66, a forerunner in the numbered U.S. highway system.

While touring Route 66, President Truman stopped by Cuba.

Other celebrities followed suit, like the actress Bette Davis.

Discover the city’s unique charms with this list of the best things to do in Cuba.

See Outdoor Murals along Route 66

Murals at cuba
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Driving along Cuba’s Route 66 corridor is a must-try activity during a visit to the city, designated as the “Route 66 Mural City”.

You can see about a dozen outdoor murals along this city corridor.

Grab a map of their exact locations at the Cuba Visitor Center on I-44 (Exit 206).

Many of the city’s tourist-oriented businesses also give away the map to the Cuba Route 66 murals.

Large groups of visitors can join a step-on narrated bus tour of the Cuba Route 66 murals.

A mural at the outskirts of Route 66
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DIY tourists can download the VisitCubaMO app for a guide on the mural trail and other local destinations.

The murals began in 2007 as part of the celebrations to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Cuba.

Each of the Route 66 murals depicts an iconic story of adventure, war, and love, including a depiction of the visits of President Truman, Bette Davis, and Amelia Earhart.

Three murals at Cuba
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View Indoor Murals at Mace

This time, visitors can admire indoor murals in several business establishments in the city, like Mace Supermarket.

Aptly, the mural inside Mace Supermarket is in its produce section, featuringa farm’s bountiful harvest.

Cuba Bakery & Deli also flaunts murals inside and outside its premises, with themes of bakers’ bread, playful characters, and country scenes.

On Highway 19, the Midwest Petroleum Travel Plaza joins the Cuba mural parade with classic automobiles from prolific muralist Ray Harvey.

You can also find indoor murals presenting depictions of teenagers’ lives in the 1950s in the Crawford County Historical Museum on U.S. 69.

Explore Hood Park

Park visits can serve as a centerpiece of a Cuba tour, as the city has several well-developed public parks.

Hood Park is a shoo-in for this itinerary, as it offers plenty besides hosting the annual Crawford County Fair.

The 58-acre Hood Park was formerly a private racehorse training facility.

In 1995, the city acquired the facility for conversion into a public park that could host the Crawford County Fair.

Outside of hosting the fair, the tree-lined park provides ball fields, a fishing pond, picnic areas, and biking and walking trails.

Tangle Creek Park is another excellent destination for Cuba visitors, particularly during supper.

This park’s features include not only the Cuba Municipal Pool Splash Park but also a lush garden with a centerpiece 1873 train replica.

Discover the World’s Second Largest Rocking Chair

Front view of the Giant Rocking Chair
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Drop by State Highway 77 for a photo-op at a 42-foot high rocking chair, once touted as the world’s largest.

Even though it’s now the world’s second largest rocking chair, it can still give you an afternoon’s worth of fun.

After some Instagrammable poses at the unique chair, you can visit the nearby Fanning 66 Outpost & Feedstore.

Side view of the Giant Rocking Chair
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This convenience store boasts more than 250 glass bottle sodas, 300 gourmet popcorn flavors, plus 75 picks on fudge.

Souvenir items like tote bags, mugs, and Route 66 souvenirs are also available at Fanning 66.

Enjoy the day at the World's Second Largest Rocking Chair in Cuba, Missouri!

Visit the Crawford County Historical Society & Museum

The Crawford County Historical Society & Museum is inside a large and charming 1934 two-story building.

Its volunteers offer guided tours, but you can also go on your own touring its various exhibits.

This museum has several permanent exhibits.

These exhibits include a kitchen display, vintage clothing, military, and Native American artifacts.

You can also find Route 66 memorabilia, and school house vintage items.

Known as the Recklein Commons, the museum’s grounds also host Cuba’s Veterans Memorial.

The city’s Recklein Auditorium and the Crawford County Library District are also at the museum’s location.

Explore Vintage Buildings at Uptown Cuba Historic District

Railway of Uptown Cuba Historic District
Stephenjayson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Uptown Cuba Historic District, located on the city’s Main Street, tells much about the history of Cuba and Crawford County.

This district is home to 19 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Built between 1880 and 1963, these historic buildings feature the Italianate architectural style.

Some of this district's most noteworthy historic buildings include Kinder's Big Store, Bank of Cuba, Hotel Grand, and the former City Hall built in 1934.

Enjoy the October Cuba Fest

Plan a visit to Cuba sometime in autumn when the city celebrates its annual October Cuba Fest.

This two-day celebration is traditionally held on the third Saturday of October, featuring plenty of fun activities.

The festivities during this event revolve around Cuba’s Uptown Recklein Historic District.

Visitors can join in celebrating the city’s history via free narrated bus tours of the Route 66 murals.

Cuba Fest’s other delights include school band performances, street dancing, wine tasting, a cook-off contest, crafts, and more.

Stay at the Wagon Wheel Motel

Welcome sign of the Wagon Wheel Motel
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Visitors can immerse themselves thoroughly in the ambiance of Route 66 with a stay at the Wagon Wheel Motel.

Built in the 1930s, the 19-room motel has undergone total restoration.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Wagon Wheel Motel is on the East Washington Boulevard extension of Old Route 66.

Exterior of the Wagon Wheel Motel
KLOTZ, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This attraction is the oldest continuously operating motel off Route 66, celebrated in songs and films.

Among the charming features of the Wagon Wheel Motel are its shaded sitting areas outdoors.

These areas feature decks and fire pits, plus a new concrete patio where motel guests can spend a relaxing evening.

Celebrate Summer at the Crawford County Fair

Bring the family to the city of Cuba on the third weekend of July.

In the summertime, it hosts the annual Crawford County Fair.

This three-day festival kicks off with a lively parade along the corridor of Old Route 66.

The fair’s highlights include carnival rides, livestock exhibits, 4-H agricultural displays, and food booths.

Marquee entertainers plus queen, prince, and princess pageants further enliven the Crawford County Fair.

Since 1947, this event has occurred in Cuba’s Hood Park, east of Old Route 66.

Learn about Cuba’s History at the John Manson Munro House

Exterior of the George B. Hamilton house
JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The vintage buildings in Cuba listed on the National Register of Historic Places include two charming residences.

One is the John Manson Munro House, located on West Washington Street.

John Manson Munro served as Cuba’s mayor for two terms.

He built the residence in 1888, an example of Victorian architecture.

This house stands in front of the city’s red brick Christian Science Reading Center.

Still a private residence, this historic home features an irregular shape with a wraparound porch and overhanging rooflines.

The George B. Hamilton House on East Washington Boulevard is another heritage of the city of Cuba.

George B. Hamilton was a prominent local businessman who had this home built in the Queen Anne style.

Constructed in 1896, this dwelling also flaunts the detailing of the Eastlake movement, as seen in its multiple projecting bays.

Learn local history at these historic homes, like the John Manson Munro House.

Beat the Water Hazards of Cuba Lakes Golf & Country Club

Cuba is home to a private, nine-hole golf course with water hazards revolving around two lakes.

This facility, the Cuba Lakes Golf & Country Club, offers 2,725 yards of play from its longest tees.

A regular game in this course is at par 34, but an avid golfer has the option for a double round at par 68.

The Cuba Lakes Golf & Country Club opened its course in 1973, which has a 114 slope rating and a 34.0 rating.

This layout offers golfers options on various tee placements to make a round enjoyable for players of all skill levels.

This country club has a driving range and chipping and putting greens to help golfers improve their game.

End your game with a full stomach at the full-service bar and restaurant, which is open daily.

Shop for Antiques at the Two Olde Crows Antique Mall

Search for collectible vintage items at the Two Olde Crows Antique Mall.

This shopping destination provides 9,000 square feet of commercial space to some 100 vendors.

At the Two Olde Crows Antique Mall, shoppers can choose from an enormous collection of old advertising signage, coins, and vintage quilt.

For more collectibles, visit the nearby Lone Star Antique Mall.

Browse primitive American furniture and accessories, glassware, rugs, and other vintage stuff.

Outside of Rocky Creek Road, hunt for more antiques at the Spirals Gallery & Studio.

This gift shop offers a lot of affordable items plus personalized items to its regular customers.

Grab a Hearty Meal at Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que

Exterior of the Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que
Mathieu BROSSAIS, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Travelers passing through Cuba find Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que an excellent stop for dine-in or takeout of superb grilled meats.

This specialty restaurant features friendly and fast service.

The customer favorites on its menu include ribs, brisket, chicken, and redneck nachos.

Side dishes revolve around choices of fries, coleslaw, green beans, and mashed potatoes.

Old sewing machines repurposed into restaurant’s tables help provide a unique dining experience at Missouri Hick Bar-B-Que.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Float along the Meramec River

People rafting on Meramec River
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The Meramec State Park, 20 miles northeast of Cuba, offers many recreational outdoor activities, including a trip on the Meramec River.

Kayaks, canoes, and rafts are available for rent at this park near Sullivan, Missouri.

Aerial view of Meramec River
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The Meramec River offers Class I to Class II river currents suited to all rafting or boating expertise and experience levels.

The sights enjoyed during the river trip include bubbling springs, steep limestone walls, caves, forests, and local wildlife.

Explore the Maramec Springs Park

The waters of Maramec Springs Park
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The Maramec Springs Park is in St. James, Missouri, 31 minutes from Cuba.

The James Foundation owns the property, spanning 1,860 acres and holding Missouri’s fifth largest spring.

Fly-fishing is one of the main attractions in Maramec Springs Park.

You can visit the park during catch-and-keep season or the catch-and-release period.

The park doesn’t have a designated swimming area, so swim at your own risk.

However, the Maramec Springs Park accommodates campers and day visitors who can enjoy a picnic amid lush forests in one of its pavilions.

Other park attractions include two museums, a field for flying kites, playgrounds, and an old iron mine open to driving tours.

Final Thoughts

Cuba has capitalized on its association with the iconic Route 66 entrenched in American lore.

Its proximity to some of Missouri’s natural wonders further enhances Cuba’s merit as a destination not to be missed.

Bookmark this page and discover the best things to do in Cuba!

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